The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Taxation is theft

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 861 times Debate No: 96678
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Round one is acceptance only, round two will be for argument, round 3 rebuttal and round four closing argument.

I will be taking the position that taxation is theft.


I am glad to take this debate. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


To have a good discussion it is best to start with definitions:

Tax: A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

Theft: The action or crime of stealing.

Compulsory: Required by law or a rule; obligatory

C1: Money earned is the private property of an individual.

Money is a tool used in most societies but especially those that are capitalist or capitalist leaning as a substitute for barter or in kind exchange. Money or currency acquired can be used to obtain real or chattel property or to employ services. Therefore, money is tantamount to private property. It is the same as if you acquired goods or services directly though barter or exchange. Legal systems around the world recognize money at private property. Yes, some do not however that does not change the fact that money can be used to obtain property and thus should be treated as property both legally but also and more importantly morally.

C2: Government action requires the initiation of force against individuals

We in society have generally been taught from an early age not to initiation force against others, in other words don't hit people or take their stuff. Government necessarily to survive and maintain its dominance requires initiation of force. If compliance with a state is voluntary then it would cease to be a state as it would have no wait to maintain dominance over a territory. Max Weber recognized this in his definition of the state that the state is a monopoly on force. George Washington is also said to have recognized the state as force along with several others.

Many would argue that government is not force because of social contract theory. That is the idea that inhabitants of a geographical area consent to be governed by democratic or other citizen participation means. This identifies a question of whether or not humans have a natural right to impose force on other humans? How can a person or group delegate rights they never had morally to a state?

C3: Argument for compulsory taxation based on the idea of social contract theory means that taxation is theft.

Imagine you moved onto my street and I started cutting your grass every week. At the end of the month, I placed a bill on your door for my grass cutting services. I then show up with a baseball bat to collect on my bill. You explain that you never asked for the services or agreed to pay them, and I explain that you consented to pay for the service simply by being in MY neighborhood. If you don't comply with my billing I will lock you in my closet.

I ask how is that scenario any different from taxation? You may say that one would be free to leave the neighborhood(or country) however, in the case of states you would be forced to be subject to similar force in another state in a practical sense.

If theft morally unacceptable, which is generally accepted then the concept of taking private property from individuals by a state is also morally unacceptable regardless of the purpose.


This a list of things that taxes go to. If you don't like taxes, don't pay them. Of course, you also can not:

Use the roads,
Use water,
Own a home,
Call the police when you get robbed,

But maybe, just maybe, if no one is looking, you might be able to cross the street.

And, by the way, in cases of theft, you don't gain anything. In paying taxes, you are not a troglodyte.
Debate Round No. 2


Con argues that one should not pay taxes if you don't like them and also claims that one can not use government services also. I will address those separately.

One could choose non compliance with taxation as a form of civil disobedience in theory however it ignores reality. The reality is that most people in an employment situation will have taxation taken from pay automatically, it also doesn't address all other taxes that are not avoidable such as when purchasing goods. Con also ignores the violent nature of the relationship with the state. That is that if you don't comply with the state demands you will face increasing forceful actions of the state up to and including death in the extreme if you physically resist the actions of the state. Con implies that taxation is a voluntary arraignment when the fact that taxation is compulsory is inherent in the definition. Physical force, fraud, or stealth designed with the intent of depriving one of property is theft.

In a modern society, it is impossible to function and avoid all government services. I ask con, if a slave accepts a meal from his master does the situation of slavery become voluntary. I would say that most reasonable people would disagree with that premise. Also there is nothing inherently special about the items that con mentions(roads, police/protection services, water service etc..) that require a state. Most services or functions of the state would be provided for in the general marketplace through voluntary trade if society desired them and the state did not exist.

Finally here, con argues that in theft you don't gain anything which is absurd. If I rob your house and take your XBOX, I just gained an XBOX. I think con is trying to argue that you get services in return for taxation however, based on the unsound nature of social contract theory it can be concluded that one's relationship with the state is not consensual or voluntary.


First of all, it is possible to survive without government services, there are people that do it all of the time.
Second of all, the victim in a crime doesn't gain anything, which I didn't explain because I thought it was understandable.
Thirdly, if taxation is morally wrong, how is there a way to pay for public services ethically?
Lastly, your analogy about the slave and his/her master is a horrible analogy. You are saying that governments that house us, protects us and looks out for our interests are immoral slaveowners. If you really believe that, you are an anarchist.

So to recap,

1) You are wrong.
2) You misunderstood me.
3)You have no solution to your problems, so don't complain if you can't think of anything better.
4)You need to work on your analogies about the government. You sound like a anarchist who opposes all forms of government.
Debate Round No. 3


To conclude, con has never addressed the claims brought forth. Con has failed to refute the notion that government action is violent in nature or that the relationship of citizens or subjects of the state are voluntary in any empirical way.

Con states that it is possible live without government services in modern society but provides no evidence of how that would work.

Con in round 3 changes wording to insist that in cases of theft the victim does not gain anything yet con never mentioned victims before.

Since the relationship of a citizen or subject to a state is compulsory and not voluntary and since the citizen produces and the state forcefully takes a portion of that production it is indeed analogous to slavery. If someone taking 100% of your production is slavery, then at what percentage is it not slavery?

Con further asked how services would be paid for without taxation yet I addressed this in my remarks in round 3. The goal of any society that desires common goods or services is to provide the service. There is nothing inherent about protection services, roads, education, water/sewer or other service that the state provides that would prohibit them from instead being provided by a free market. I would refer con to the works of Auberon Herbert, Stefan Molyneux, William Lloyd Garrison and others to get a sense of how a society could organize without forceful taxation. Many philosophies exist regarding this topic.

The four points con makes at the end of a short 'rebuttal' lack substance and depth:

1) "You are wrong"

This is of no value and is simply an attack without any attempt to expand on why I could be wrong. There is no counter argument to any of my previous deeper discussion.

2) "You misunderstood me"

At no point did con make a clear point or empirical argument against my points. Con did not have depth in a previous point and when that was attacked added a word to be able to say that I didn't understand.

3) "You have no solution to your problems, so don't complain if you can't think of anything better"

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. The question was to demonstrate that taxation is theft it was not to propose any alternative. In response to con previously, I did propose and brief overview of an alternative market based approach and referred con to theorists who expand on the principle.

4) "You need to work on your analogies about the government. You sound like a anarchist who opposes all forms of government."

Above I have previously addressed how my analogies(specifically the only one con directly addressed) are germane to the topic. The goal of the debate was to demonstrate that taxation is theft only, not to get into a broader discussion about the existence of states in any form although an argument can be made that without taxation there could be no state in the modern sense, but that was not the topic of the debate.

Regardless of you personal feelings about whether or not you think taxation is theft I believe the depth and breadth of the case I have made has been far superior to that of con as con failed to make any empirical or formal argument against my claims. As such I should be awarded points and determined the winner.


To conclude, you obviously missed everything I said. You never gave a direct example of how the government is violent, and you again missed easily accessible clues of my arguments. And as for my "attack", I only do that to people who I am scared of voting.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheRealSpassky101 1 year ago
If you are a citizen, you basically signed an agreement.
Posted by EthanTheEEL 1 year ago
Taxes are beneficial, but how high they are and what the government is spending them on, IS JUST TERRIBLE! IT IS PRETTY MUCH THEFT!
Posted by airmax1227 1 year ago
Vote by Spassky101 has been disqualified and removed.

Airmax1227 Moderator
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
My mistake: the Tree_of_Death vote should say "NOT removed" and "Reason for non-removal".
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: Pigney// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Pro (Conduct, S&G, Arguments), 2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Conduct, Con did not argue about the point at hand, but turned the argument aside. Grammar, i noticed a few incomplete sentences in Con's arguments. Pro had very convincing arguments, while Con avoided the actual question at hand. Con used multiple sources, while pro use none that i am aware of.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Conduct is insufficiently explained. Avoiding argumentation is not sufficient reason to award this point " it may only be awarded in instances where an insult is levied or one side forfeits. (2) S&G is insufficiently explained. Unless the debater wrote in such a way that it's difficult to understand, this point may not be awarded. This is not an opportunity to point out how many incomplete sentences there were on each side. (3) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter must assess specific points made by both sides. Merely stating that one side had convincing points and the other was off topic is not specific. (4) Sources are insufficiently explained. The voter must assess the reliability of the sources given and not just their number.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: Tree_of_Death// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.

[*Reason for removal*] The vote is sufficient. The voter specifically examines arguments made by both debaters and comes to a decision based on that assessment.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: ChaseE// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Pro fails to understand that without taxes, the government could not function. The United States did not tax its citizens when it was under the Articles of Confederation, and it nearly died. Taxes are necessary to run this country.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G or sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to assess arguments made in the debate, and not merely to provide the own reasons why they think taxes are important.
Posted by Tree_of_Death 1 year ago
RFD: R2: Pro opens with the contention that money is private property of the citizen. Since money is simply a more convenient method of acquiring private property, Pro points out, money itself is private property. If we are to assume that this debate refers to the United States, currency is indeed private property.
Pro"s next two contentions note that taxes are compulsory and that, if resisted, will be forcefully (possibly violently, depending on the extent of the individual"s resistance) implemented against the individual"s will, which is theft by definition. He acknowledges the idea of a social contract with a government and refutes it by saying that taxation is akin to a person charging another person for services that were unasked for and using threats or imprisonment to force the latter to pay for said services.
Con refutes Pro"s arguments by saying that taxes go towards much-needed government services such as infrastructure, law enforcement, defense, etc. This argument does not work because Pro"s definition, as "the action or crime of stealing," do not allow for the "thief" giving back to the person. Theft, under the given definition, is still theft if the stolen property is given back. Con asserts that if one doesn"t want to pay taxes that they don"t have to, which is false.
R2: Con failed to respond to Pro"s arguments using the given definition. R1 goes to Pro.
Posted by Tree_of_Death 1 year ago
RFD Part 2: R3: Pro points out that Con"s assertion that taxes are voluntary contradicts his definition of taxes. Next he responds to Con"s claim that one could not function without services that are currently provided with the government, and that taxation is still involuntary even if one accepts services funded by it. Most of the remainder of Con"s R3 is given to rehashing previous points.
Con responds by pointing out that one can survive without government services, which is technically correct, but Pro said that it is impossible to function, not survive, without government services I assume that function means to do business, gain money, raise a family, etc. Without services currently provided by government, one cannot function. Con then says that the victim in a crime doesn"t gain anything, which is irrelevant because taxation is not a crime as it is legal. Con points out that Pro has not proposed a solution for public services, which is false (Pro"s free-market solution)"and irrelevant, because the topic of the debate is "Taxation is Theft""no other solution must be proposed for Pro to fulfill his burden of proof.
Posted by Tree_of_Death 1 year ago
RFD Part 2: Con"s first two "recap" points have no value as arguments, and the third and fourth do not pertain to the topic of debate. Who has the better analogies or solutions to a problem is irrelevant.
R3: Goes to Pro again, for reasons given above.
R4: Pro notes that Con does not respond to Pro"s assertion that government is inherently violent, which doesn"t make much sense, as peaceful theft is still theft.
Pro rehashes his proposal of a free-market solution, which is irrelevant because it doesn"t have anything to do with the debate topic. Pro notes the emptiness of Pro"s first two conclusions, proves his third false by mentioning again the market-based services as an alternative, and shows that the effectiveness of analogies are not pertinent to the topic.
Con provides a short conclusion, saying that Pro failed to prove that government is violent. This is not a relevant point as mentioned above.
This debate clearly goes to Pro. Con makes a good argument in favor of taxes, but the benefits and drawbacks of taxation is not the subject at hand. Pro proves that under his definition taxation is theft, and so arguments points go to him.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Tree_of_Death 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.